In August 2011 the Caymanian Compass wrote and opined about
the auditor general’s queries concerning $7.1 million spent on Nation Building
Today we report that the Nation Building Fund topped $9.5
million from December 2009 to June 2012.
We’re still waiting for figures for the time period from
July last year to now.
The last time we wrote an opinion about the Nation Building
Fund, then-premier McKeeva Bush called us a litany of unfavourable names
including drunkards, heretics and devil worshippers.
Perhaps it was because we stepped on toes. Of the $4.6
million given to religious groups from the national building fund, half went to
two churches – Wesleyan Holiness Church West Bay, which received $1.3 million
and where Mr. Bush attends, and Church of God Bodden Town, which received $1
We said then, and we repeat now, there is no doubt that
Cayman’s churches do very good things for the community and that government
should support churches when it can. But if government is going to support one
church, it should support them all or at least give them an opportunity to
Most worrying, though, is that the Wesleyan Church in West
Bay hasn’t done any construction on its planned $2 million two-storey church
hall with classrooms and apartments adjacent to the church building on North
West Point Road. In Bodden Town, work has come to an abrupt halt on the
multi-purpose hall that ‘isn’t a church but will be used for worship services’.
There should be a proper accounting for all of the money
doled out of the so-called Nation Building Fund for everyone to see. As we also
said before, all of the nation building spending could be completely legitimate
and warranted, but the truth is, the public – from where the money originates –
just doesn’t know.
Transparency is a must on this issue as well as other
government spending situations.
To keep facts hidden on spending in the Nation Building Fund
only leads to rumour and innuendo. That’s not something we need, especially in
an election year.
Government can, and should, do better.